Switzerland – High Possibility of B and L Permit Quotes Being Reached

What is changing?

The important Swiss cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Zurich, and Basel have exhausted their own work permits for non-European (EU) citizens in the first trimester of 2017 and have since been using the federal reserve quotas.

There is a high possibility that the B permit quota will be exhausted by late September/early October and the L permit quota will be exhausted by late November/early December.

Please see ‘What to expect’ for further details.

Who will be affected?

  • Employers intending to hire/transfer non-EU employees or EU/EFTA nationals on secondment (from a non-EU based company) for more than four (4) months

What to expect

As it is unlikely the remaining units will be sufficient to cover the needs of all Swiss-based companies’ in 2017, the authorities will be forced to choose applications representing the most important economic interests for Switzerland and/or the region (e.g. executives, positions in a sector or activity with a severe lack of resources, cases with high political implications, companies operating in an innovative sector developing new mandates for the Swiss economy, etc.).

Normally, when no more B permit units are available, the authorities will delay consideration of the application until the new annual quota is released on January 1.

Under special circumstances, the authorities may initially grant an L permit to compensate for the B permit shortage. L permits, however, are usually limited to a particular employment/assignment and more restrictive in terms of extension, spouse’s eligibility to work in Switzerland, etc..

What you need to do
Planning ahead
  • We recommend clients consider one of the following options –
    • Reducing short term assignments to four (4) months, which are not subject to quota availability;
    • Evaluating the possibility of applying for a 120 days within a twelve (12) month period work authorization when the worker (e.g. with intensive international travels) is not permanently based in Switzerland, even if the worker is employed by a Swiss company;
    • Notifying the authorities when a work permit has been granted but the person will not use the permit due to a change in plans or if they leave Switzerland prematurely, as it may be possible for the authorities to re-use the granted unit for a new case;
    • Promoting when possible Swiss local employment contracts to EU/EFTA nationals officially working in a non-EU based company (instead of secondment status)
    • Selecting the company’s most important assignments for work permit applications and cancelling the less necessary assignments;
    • Utilizing the trainees exchange program that in place between Switzerland and various countries (separate quotas in place for the trainee exchange program)
    • Not waiting until the end of the year to submit important applications.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.